Potato Soup Recipe

I guess it’s the same as potato chowder? I’m not really sure what the difference would be since all potato soup recipes I’ve ever seen have cream or milk in them, which makes them chowders, too. So it seems they are the same thing. But then again, not all chowders have milk or cream. The world of culinary terminology is fraught with mysteries and paradoxes. WHY CAN’T THE WORLD BE A SIMPLE PLACE AGAIN?!?

Potato Soup Recipe

Back when the world was a simpler place, and when it was cold out or the end of the month or both, my mom would make this potato soup for us. I imagine she got the recipe from a can of evaporated milk, or her mother did, back when evaporated milk first came out and Carnation was pumping out recipe booklets all over the place, each recipe featuring at least one entire can of evaporated milk. I’ve been getting away from using things from cans recently, though, so while I adore the recipe as it was originally made (much as I adore Kraft mac’n’cheese and Wolf chili-in-a-can) now I will substitute half and half for the evaporated milk. You may use either. You may also add cooked diced bacon, or cheese, or broccoli, or green peas.

The recipe is very forgiving. It’s one of the first things I learned to cook. I love it. It’s one of those foods I associate with being cozy and safe and nurtured and loved. Everyone has something like that, right?

What is yours?

How to make potato soup video

 Potato soup recipe – Printable!

Potato Soup Recipe

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3 1x


  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or butter
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups diced potatoes (peeled or not)
  • 15 ounce can evaporated milk, or half and half (2 cups minus one ounce, or 1 7/8 cups)
  • Garnish: chopped parsley, dill, celery leaves, or paprika


  1. Heat your fat of choice over medium heat in a saucepan.
  2. Saute onion and celery about 5 minutes or until translucent.
  3. Add water, salt, and potatoes.
  4. Bring to boil then simmer uncovered until tender, and the water has reduced so that it just barely covers the potatoes, about 20 minutes total.
  5. Add milk and reheat.
  6. Serve with garnish of choice.
  7. Makes about 6 cups of soup, which will serve 2–3 people

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  1. Barbara on April 19, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Im definitely going to try this one 🙂

  2. Lauren on April 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    LIKE to the EXTREME! I can’t wait to try this ^^

    • Hilah Cooking on April 21, 2011 at 6:19 am

      I like you to the extreme, Lauren. Thanks! Lemme know how it turns out!

    • Lisa Benjamin on November 21, 2021 at 12:35 pm

      I am making it now…so easy. I can Twerk it w cheese and do a little of my own thing. Thanks so much!!!

  3. Randy on April 20, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Hey, Hilah! I just nominated you for the Saveur magazine best blog awards in these categories: Best Food Blog, Best Food Photography and Best Video Content. Nominations close on April 22 and voting begins on April 26. I hope everyone reading this will nominate you as well and SPREAD THE WORD. Nominations are at http://www.saveur.com/2011-best-food-blog-nominations.jsp.
    Now I need to run to the store and buy the ingredients for potato shop to have for lunch. It’s perfect for this un-sunny California weather (54 now, high of 64).

    • Randy on April 20, 2011 at 9:34 am

      Of course, I meant potato SOUP. It my niece’s laptop’s fault I can’t spell 🙂

    • Hilah Cooking on April 21, 2011 at 6:18 am

      Thanks, Randy! You’re the greatest! And I hope you liked the soup.

      • Randy on April 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm

        I loved it (it reminded me of the potato soup MY mother made, which I haven’t had it since I left home). My nieces loved it. And just about every other adult around here hasn’t had potato soup since they left home, so guess what I’ll be making a double batch of this weekend?

        • Hilah Cooking on April 24, 2011 at 7:29 am

          Hi Randy! Whaddaya wanna bet that all the moms got the same recipe from the same can of milk?
          How’d it go over with everyone?

          • Randy on April 24, 2011 at 2:22 pm

            Not surprisingly, moms (and grandmothers), potato soup and condensed milk were the major topics of conversation at the big potato soup lunch yesterday. As it so happened Liz, the mom of three of the adults, was part of the group. She confirmed that she originally used the recipe on the Carnation condensed milk can. We looked online to try to find the recipe, but evidently Carnation has changed the recipe on several occasions (probably coinciding with the introduction of new products or the acquisition of other companies). This one seems to be closest to the one that inspired Liz, because she remembers that, after a couple of tries with the original recipe, she started leaving out the chicken bouillon cube: http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/134909/Creamy-Potato-Soup/detail.aspx Carnation currently doesn’t have a potato soup recipe on their website, but they do have a potato “chowder” recipe (calling for Yukon Gold potatoes, but otherwise looking like “just” potato soup). An older one we found on another website, but attributed to Carnation, called for instant mashed potato flakes! Interestingly enough, the one person who merely liked your recipe (everyone else loved it!) said he would have liked it richer, using cream. His mother never made potato soup, but the first words out of his mouth, as we sat down to eat, were “where’s the chowder crackers?”. Liz said that she’s pretty sure that she never made potato soup with canned milk for her daughters because she’d switched to using cream by the time they were born. My late maternal grandmother who was born in 1908, used canned milk for nearly anything that might have called for cream: coffee, mashed potatoes and potato soup are the things I remember best. My mother, on the other hand, never used canned milk and used REGULAR milk in nearly everything, including mashed potatoes and potato soup. The consensus was that half and half is the way to go in potato soup.

            Another topic was “condensed” vs. “evaporated”. As suspected, they’re just marketing terms that Carnation (“condensed”) and Borden’s (“evaporated”) use for essentially the same product. But then there’s sweetened condensed milk which is obviously different (which I found out the first time I tried making a tres leches cake).

            Evidently when Carnation first introduced canned milk they launched a huge marketing blitz, whatever the hell that meant in 1899. “The milk from contented cows” was the blurb they used. I found a song about Carnation milk that supposedly was written around 1900:
            Carnation Milk is the best in the land
            Here I sit with a can in my hand
            No tits to pull, no hay to pitch
            You just punch a hole in the son of a bitch.

            And I thought that profanity wasn’t invented until the 1960s! 🙂

  4. PenisBreath on April 22, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Hilah my dear, this is something that I’ve always wanted to make, but never thought I actually wanted to make. That may not make any sense, but I’ll tell you what does make sense, how HOT you look in that top! OH MY GOD IT BURNNSS!


    • Hilah Cooking on April 24, 2011 at 7:14 am

      PB, you should make this. And you should make it with your shirt off. It’ll better that way. 😉

  5. Cobbie on January 5, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you, this soup was so easy,so yummy and made the house smell great!

    • Hilah on January 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Thanks for writing, Cobbie! Yes, this potato soup is the best. I guess nothing ever compares to Mom’s recipes.

  6. Bri on July 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    My potato soup is so thin… Why? /:

    • Hilah on July 25, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Hi Bri!
      It’s really important with this recipe to let the water boil off before adding the milk since the potato starch is really the only thickening agent. If it happens again, you can stir a little bit of flour (2 teaspoons or so) into 1/4 cup of cold water or milk until it’s lump-free and then add that “slurry” to the soup. Bring it to a boil again and voila! it’ll be nice and thick.

  7. TRESENDIZ1 on February 17, 2013 at 2:05 am


    • Hilah on February 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Thank you! Yes, potato soup is so comforting to me, too. Hope this one holds up to your memories. 🙂

  8. Alexis on July 25, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Is it possible to just use whole regular milk?

    • Hilah on July 25, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Hey Alexis, I think that would be fine. Let us know if it works!

  9. pete on September 2, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Love your easy to remember receipes and your daft sense of humour. Can’t figure out what you are saying some of the time but…what the hell! You are soo pretty it doesn’t matter a potato.

    • Hilah on September 3, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Thank you, Pete! Hahaha! I love you using the word “daft”. 🙂

  10. reginald on October 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

    what is the recipe for this soup im confused and this is gonna be my first soup so i don’t wanna make a mistake lol

    • Hilah on October 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Reginald! The recipe is below the video at the bottom of the post.

  11. Reginald on October 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Alright cool thanks that helps me alot 🙂 and you’re so beautifull!.

  12. Reginald on October 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    One more thing i don’t really use any measurement when i cook is that alright??

  13. anthony on October 10, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks for the recipe ! My family loved it, next time im adding a little bit of flour , it was still really good though =]

    • Hilah on October 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

      That’s great, Anthony! Thanks for the suggestion, too. 🙂

  14. Katie on February 2, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Hi Hilah! I’m about to cook this and I saw in the video you sautéed celery but it is not in the ingredients list. Just fyi!

    • Hilah on February 4, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Whoops! Fixed. Thanks, Katie!

  15. Ana on May 27, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Can this be used with whole milk or heavy whipping cream instead?

    • Hilah on May 28, 2014 at 8:45 am

      I think either will work, Ana.

  16. Harley on October 1, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Thnx, Hilah! My neighbor loves this and I wanted to make it for him since he has cancer. This recipe was so easy to follow and he loved it as did I!

    • Hilah on October 2, 2018 at 8:10 am

      How wonderful of you! I’m sure your neighbor appreciated that. Here’s to his recovery!

  17. J Fallon on March 25, 2020 at 6:21 am

    This is similar to the potato soup made by my husbands grandmother, mother, and now me. We often add cooked egg noodles. It’s a family favorite comfort food and it’s economical to boot. Gramma had 9 children to feed during the depression so this was a recipe that could feed lots of hungry kids. It is easy to customize. I often add some Beau Monde seasoning (onion salt:celery salt blend) if I don’t have celery. Add instant potato flakes or heavy cream if you want it creamier. Add egg noodles or crispy bacon or add nothing at all. It’s yummy just as written here.

    • Hilah on March 25, 2020 at 10:49 am

      That is a great idea to add potato flakes! I love this soup recipe – it’s so comforting to me, too.

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